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Lomax v. State

Court of Appeals of Missouri, Eastern District, Third Division

December 20, 2016

SAMUEL LOMAX, Appellant,
v.
STATE OF MISSOURI, Respondent.

         Appeal from the Circuit Court of the City of St. Louis Hon. Thomas J. Frawley

          ROBERT G. DOWD, JR., JUDGE

         Samuel Lomax (Movant) appeals from the judgment denying his Rule 29.15 motion without an evidentiary hearing. We affirm.

         Movant was charged with robbery in the first degree, armed criminal action, two counts of robbery in the second degree, attempted robbery in the second degree, tampering in the first degree, assault in the third degree, resisting arrest and possession of drug paraphernalia.

         According to the facts as summarized in Appellant's direct appeal, State v. Lomax, ED97365, on the day in question, a white Chevrolet half-ton pickup truck owned by a church organization was stolen while parked in the parking lot to the organization's main building. Several hours later, another individual saw a struggle between a man and another person at a bus stop. This witness saw a man run from the stop carrying a woman's purse. The man was seen driving away in a truck matching the description of the truck stolen from the church organization. An elderly woman, with bruises on her face and scrapes on her arms and legs, indicated the man seen running from the bus stop had stolen her purse. After the police were called and arrived at the bus stop, a description of the assailant and the truck were immediately broadcast. The elderly woman told police the man punched her in the face, and her face was swollen.

         As the officer was reporting the incident, the officer heard a radio broadcast regarding another robbery involving a man matching the elderly woman's description of her assailant as well as the description of the truck he drove away. During the second robbery, seven blocks from the scene of the first robbery, the victim was trying to fuel a U-Haul truck at a gas station when the victim saw Movant walking toward the truck carrying a tire iron. Movant reached into the truck where the victim was sitting and grabbed the wallet hanging from a cord or chain around the victim's neck and ripped it off. Movant then opened the door of the truck and tried to forcibly pull the victim out. The victim fought back, and Movant reached inside the truck and snatched the victim's purse. Movant was scared off by the victim's friend running out of the gas station. The victim saw the Movant get into a truck matching the description of the truck stolen from the church organization earlier that day. The victim later identified Movant in a photo lineup and also identified his jacket and the tire iron.

         A short time later, yet another victim was securing her two-year old son in a car seat in the back of a parked car when she noticed a white Chevrolet pickup truck stop in the middle of the street after it passed her car. This victim saw Movant carrying a crowbar walk in front of her car. When this victim faced Movant and asked him what he wanted, Movant raised the crowbar and told her to "shut the f*** up or I'm going to f****** kill you." Movant opened the passenger door of the victim's car, took her purse and told her that if the purse did not have any money in it, he would kill her. As Movant began to rummage through the purse, he was startled and walked toward the truck. This victim screamed, and Movant drove away in the truck. This victim was able to describe Movant, his clothing, and the white pickup truck and later identified Movant in a live lineup. She also recognized some of her property that was subsequently found inside the white truck.

         Still later that night, another victim parked her car on the side of the street. After exiting the car, she heard a loud noise and saw Movant jump out of a white pickup truck. As Movant lunged toward her, she turned and faced him, but he grabbed at her necklace and knocked her to the ground. Movant also grabbed her left arm, leaving a bruise. When this victim screamed, Movant ran back to the truck, hopped in and took off. The victim reported the incident to police, providing a description of Movant, his clothing and the white truck. A witness to this incident also provided the license plate number of the truck. This victim subsequently identified Movant in a live lineup. Following this incident, police placed a "wanted" notice on the white pickup truck.

         After an officer left the police station at the end of his shift and was driving home, the officer observed a truck matching the description of the truck on the "wanted" notice. After confirming the license plate number, he notified an officer on duty who found the truck, followed it and activated his police cruiser's lights and sirens. The truck pulled to the curb but sped away as the officer walked toward it. The officer pursued the truck, which reached speeds of up to 70 miles per hour. The truck ran a red light and collided with another vehicle, with both vehicles sustaining significant damage. When officers approached the truck, they found Movant sitting in the driver's seat with his foot on the gas pedal, revving the engine. Movant refused to exit the truck when ordered by the officers. When Movant was forcibly removed from the truck and told he was under arrest and informed of his Miranda rights, using profanity, he told the officers, "I know all that s***. You can't chase stolen cars, you're in more trouble than I am." When officers conducted a search of Movant incident to the arrest, they found a glass smoking tube typically used for smoking crack, and subsequent testing revealed that the pipe contained traces of cocaine base. A search of the truck revealed that the steering column had been cracked and that a screwdriver had been used instead of a key in the ignition. A tire iron and clothing matching the description of the clothing worn by the suspect involved in the robberies or attempted robberies were found inside the truck.

         Prior to jury trial, defense counsel informed the trial court that Movant had decided to plead guilty to all nine counts in exchange for a total sentence of twenty-five years, and the trial court began questioning Movant to ensure that his decision to plead guilty was knowing, intelligent and voluntary. The following exchange took place during the plea hearing:

Court: [Movant], I'm going to ask you some questions. You're under oath, I expect you to answer the questions truthfully; is that fair?
Movant: Yes, sir.
Court: If at any time you need to speak to [defense counsel] stop and let me know and I'm happy to do that; is that fair?
Movant: Yes.
Court: If you need me to restate the question let me know, I'll stop and do that for you; is that fair?
Movant: Yes, sir.
Court: Do you understand you've been charged with . . .[o]ne count of robbery first degree, one count of armed criminal action, two counts of robbery second degree, one count of attempted robbery second degree, one count of tampering first degree, one count of assault third degree, one count of resisting arrest, and one count of unlawful use ...

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